Nanobubble technology helps leach salts in walnut crops by improving water infiltration

Maricopa Orchards, a family farm in Fresno, California that primarily grows pistachios and almonds, was able to increase water infiltration into the soil, which aided in the leaching of salts after adding Moleaer’s XTB™ Nanobubble Generator with nanobubbles from oxygen.

Like most farms in the Sacramento Delta, Maricopa struggled with reduced water allocations, increased drought conditions, and declining soil conditions due to elevated levels of salts of sodium, boron, chloride and bicarbonate brought from the well water. High levels of salinity in the soil have a negative impact on plant health and are attributed to crop reduction.

A common way to combat high salinity is to leach salts below the root zone. But with bad infiltration, this was not always possible.

Instead, Maricopa applied gypsum to the soil to break down clay particles and improve infiltration. This process can be costly in terms of materials and labor, and applying too much gypsum can remove beneficial nutrients like magnesium, iron, and manganese.

Maricopa looked for a sustainable way to achieve better infiltration, improve soil health, and filter salts below the root zone.

Joe Coelho, agronomy manager for Maricopa, selected Moleaer’s nanobubble technology as a cost-effective solution because it provides multiple benefits, including:

  • Reduce the surface tension of water, allowing water to penetrate and infiltrate through the soil more easily.
  • Improve flocculation (or the aggregation of clay particles) of soils, improve soil structure and reduce soil compaction.
  • Increased ionic mobility of nutrients in the soil.
  • Increased levels of dissolved oxygen (DO) in the irrigation water.
  • Improve the hygiene of the irrigation system by controlling pathogens and biofilms.

During a test period in one of the saltier areas of the property, Coelho monitored soil conditions, including moisture, infiltration and salt levels at various depths. The nanobubble generator was installed online in the drip irrigation system with an oxygen tank for pure oxygen gas. Oxygen nanobubbles were then injected directly into the irrigation system around 10 rows with 40 trees per row.

Coelho found that the nanobubble-enriched water could infiltrate to a depth of 46 inches, compared to 26 in the control water. Additionally, Coelho saw that the 46-inch soil profile was salt-free, showing that the nanobubbles helped filter salts below the root zone by reducing soil compaction, improving infiltration and increasing ion mobility. Initial findings showed a significant improvement in water infiltration and salt leaching.

“Considering many additional benefits, Moleaer’s nanobubble technology shows great promise,” said Coelho. “The product could be a much more comprehensive solution to problems caused by soil and water salinity.”

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